Featured in this issue

PWC Community Online Database Tops 60K Wines

If many hands make light work, then imagine what all those fingers could be doing to help out. If it's entering data, so much the better for those of us who get to reap the benefits of all that digital cooperation. In the ongoing quest to minimize our time while maximizing our efficiency, data entry has usually been the hob goblin of our noblest ambitions to finally get organized. We may envision a divine tome of order and perfection, but without the abbey full of scribes to do the work, what we end up with is more like the Rough Guide to Chaos and Confusion.

Well, in the three month period since the introduction of the Personal Wine Curator Community, many hands are indeed at work, and the results are impressive. Over 60,000 wines have been added to the online wine database by the very people who collect the wines -- you! And the number keeps growing. As you are probably aware by now, The PWC Community receives wine information from users of the Personal Wine Curator wine software, like yourself, who choose to opt in so that all participating users can easily look up a wine and quickly import the data into their own cellar list. It also allows you to share tasting notes with other collectors and identify yourself with a user handle.

For wine enthusiasts, the challenges of inventory upkeep can be daunting. If the number of wines being added to the PWC Community is any indication, a contributing factor to the ease of everybody’s wine cellar organizing is also what brings you and your fellow PWC folks together, even while you remain anonymous. Perhaps though, you will come to recognize someone else’s online handle and begin to appreciate the similarities (or differences) in your personal tastes - maybe even to the point where you both influence each other's buying habits. That’s what we call a community. Enjoy!

The Blend’s Monthly Featured Producer: SANS LIEGE WINES

While this up and coming Santa Barbara winery’s name may be translated as “without allegiance,” owner-winemaker Curt Schalchlin credits his wine education to his friends and mentors at Central Coast Wine Services, the wine making facility in Santa Maria, CA where Sans Liege wines are made and that represents approximately one third of the labels in Santa Barbara County, providing a space for many well-known labels, including Red Car and Hitching Post. Schalchlin’s best friends are two rising star “Rhone Rangers” of California, Russell From of Herman Story and Mac Myers of McPrice Myers, CCWS winemakers whose friendship produced another label, Barrel 27, where Schalchlin apprenticed. With all of this oenological breeding, it is no wonder that Sans Liege starts out of the gate with a low handicap (last year marked the maiden releases of Sans Liege Wines).

A native of urban Los Angeles, Schalchlin discovered the beauty of the Central Coast fourteen years ago and quickly became fascinated with wine and craft winemaking in particular. Working with exclusively Rhone varietals, Schalchlin produces tiny amounts of two whites, a Viognier blend and a Marsanne, both from grapes from Paso Robles, as well as three reds from primarily Grenache and Syrah, from Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County. Schalchlin carefully chooses the right vineyards for his expressive, handcrafted wines just as he thoughtfully chooses the beautiful wood engraved art that adorns his labels and gives his wines a distinct look to match their fine quality. Curt Schalchlin and his new Sans Liege wines clearly deserve a place at the table.

Winery website: http://sansliege.com/

Recommended Wine:

wine label This easy drinking Rhone varietal blend is made up of about equal parts Grenache and Syrah, along with some Mourvedre and a dash of Viognier. The grapes come from five different vineyards in Santa Barbara Highlands, Santa Ynez, Santa Rita Hills and Paso Robles. Nurturing his relationships with growers, Schalchlin has been able to change up the blend from last year’s “Offering” of predominantly Syrah to something more in line with his vision, slightly favoring Grenache, a variety that continues to show real success in California (Sine Qua Non, Alban, Shadow Canyon).

It’s a big boy at 15.4% alcohol, but the balance is kept well in check. Schalchlin says his “GSM” blend strives to combine the best of the Old and New Worlds, with earthiness, minerality, fruitiness and rich extraction. He has achieved a nice complexity that balances flavors of candied cherry and currants with tobacco, black tea, dusty earth and baking spices. For added mouthfeel and body, the wine undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation and is aged on the lees for four months before being bottled after a healthy 22 months in barrel. Overall, it’s a vibrant and food-friendly wine that combines complex flavors, concentration, and a lingering finish. And The Offering is offered at a price that makes it a reasonable choice for regular drinking. Pairs well with meatloaf, carpaccio, beef fajitas, roasted squab, Morbier, rosemary chicken, or mild chili. About $24.00 USD.

Catalog this wine in The Personal Wine Curator cellar software like this:

  • Producer: Sans Liege Wines
  • Wine Name/Appellation: The Offering
  • Vintage: 2006
  • Varietal: Grenache Blend
  • Type: Red
  • Vineyard/Sub-sub:
  • Sub-region: Santa Barbara County
  • Region: California (Central Coast)
  • Country: United States
  • Body: Medium
  • Distinction: Rhône Blend, Red
  • Drink after: 2008
  • Drink by: 2017

Reading Between the Lines: Barcodes, Wine Labels, and Understanding the Use of Scanners for Inventory Upkeep

Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply scan a bottle of any wine and retrieve every piece of relevant information available on that wine for our own knowledge and use in our wine database? And wouldn’t it be great if we could pull and drink a bottle of 1989 Haut-Brion whenever we had the urge? Unfortunately, for those of us living in the real world, neither scenario is plausible. In the latter case, it’s a matter of budget and supply, but in the former, what is the problem exactly?

Barcodes provide a handy way to quickly identify any product and are widely used in every aspect of commerce and record keeping. Universal Product Code (UPC) is the standard bar code symbol for retail packaging in the United States, especially grocery stores. In order for the product details to be associated with a given barcode, that information must first be entered into a database by either the manufacturer or the retailer. Fair enough. Except that in the world wide wine industry, barcodes are neither required on a bottle nor are they in any way universal. Many foreign, boutique and cult wineries leave barcodes off their labels entirely. Wineries that do use barcodes sometimes use the same barcode from vintage to vintage (i.e., same barcode, different wine). As such, no universal database of wine barcodes exists. In many cases, wine shops print their own barcodes, as do importers. It’s not unheard of for one wine to have multiple barcodes, depending on who the importer is.

The challenge then is to harness all that data in some way that collectors can benefit. The Personal Wine Curator Community offers a unique opportunity for users to share the information they gather to create a database of wines that are associated with barcodes. When a wine is entered by a PWC user that contains a manufacturer’s barcode number, it becomes searchable by anyone else with the same wine and barcode. In other instances, self-generated barcode numbers will only have practical use for the individual PWC user who generated it. Eventually, as more and more users share their data and barcode information, the work of entering product details will diminish for all.

The Personal Wine Curator will automatically generate a barcode for any wine record. Use this function when no manufacturer printed UPC exists on a wine label. As with any wine, you will have to enter the product details the first time (unless you can find it in the PWC Community!), but once the record exists you will be able to quickly update your quantities using a barcode scanner. Simply choose “Update by I.D.” in the “Wine ID and Barcodes” drop-down menu, scan the barcode, and then change the quantity.

A barcode reader (or “scanner”) is not a magic wand. It is, however, a handy tool that automatically “types” information into a field for faster lookup. By using a barcode reader, you should be able to limit your time keeping up your inventory of all those bottles of ’89 Haut-Brion!

PWC Tips and Tricks

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New PWC Community Forum

Communicate with other users of The Personal Wine Curator on our new Community Forum! With our new online forum you can communicate with other people who use The Personal Wine Curator and let them know all the ways in which you take advantage of the many features of PWC. This new discussion site is also a great place to share your thoughts on all things wine. Build bonds with your fellow cork dorks and share your enthusiasm for PWC. View the forum and set up a free membership to post your own threads: http://www.websitetoolbox.com/mb/winecurators

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